Five more Calgary office towers converted to housing
May 9, 2023
Aspen Properties’ office conversion, Calgary. | City of Calgary
The City of Calgary has added five more office towers to its office-to-housing conversion program—doubling the number of buildings since the Downtown Calgary Development Incentive Program launched in 2021.
The program is part of a long-range City plan to remove six million square feet of empty offices in a downtown with the highest office vacancy rate in Canada.
Announced April 19, this conversion will eliminate about 500,000 square feet of vacant office space and create 530 residential units.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek, with representatives of companies undertaking the work, made the announcement downtown.
The program will provide $36.3 million to the five projects from a $153 million conversion fund. Qualifying developers can get up to $75 per square foot for projects—to a limit of $15 million.
All told, the 10 office-to-residential conversions to date will create 1,237 homes in more than one million square feet of former offices. The City is also helping convert two other commercial buildings outside of the downtown core—including the vacant 109,000-square-foot Barron Building—to housing.
Calgary’s downtown is slowly reducing an office vacancy rate that had spiked to 30 per cent in two years, according to real estate agency Avison Young. The agency pegged core vacancy at 27.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2023—down 1.8 per cent from a year earlier.